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back to article Sony Xperia Z Ultra: The quad-core 2.2GHz MEGA SCREEN PHONDLESLAB

Two years after Samsung opened the Very Large Phone (VLP™) Pandora’s Box with the original Galaxy Note, Sony has thrown its hat into the ring with the Xperia Z Ultra: a device boasting a 6.4-inch screen and a 2.2GHz quad-core processor. Now I have a pretty wild imagination, especially after a few pints and an injudicious late- …

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JDX
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Whip it out in a bar and all your friends are certain to go: “Oooh...”

"... you tosser"

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Re: Whip it out in a bar and all your friends are certain to go: “Oooh...”

I think you'd be OK, up to the point you tried to use it as a phone. I suppose a bluetooth headset could reduce the embarrassment. Heh, maybe someone will combine a bluetooth headset & stylus - maybe standing in a bar talking to a pencil would look less ridiculous. Then again.

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Re: Whip it out in a bar and all your friends are certain to go: “Oooh...”

You have just spent a fortune on a phone the size of a minor planet and you still have friends? Impressive...

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Re: Whip it out in a bar and all your friends are certain to go: “Oooh...”

Really? You'd think someone was a tosser just because of the phone they had? You must be the life of the party.

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Re: Whip it out in a bar and all your friends are certain to go: “Oooh...”

Comes with an SBH-20 clip on stereo headset as I understand it. I have one with my Xperia Z and it's decent bit of kit which, using Sony NFC tech, is a doddle to set up.

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Re:pencil stylus/headset

Didn't Asus already do that for the PadFone Mk1?

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Re: Whip it out in a bar and all your friends are certain to go: “Oooh...”

Looking at the size of that thing, I think the friends are more likely to duck...

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Re: Whip it out in a bar and all your friends are certain to go: “Oooh...”

You must be one of those annoying clowns, present in every circle, who are always unable to hide their envy if they see something they cannot afford...

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Re: Whip it out in a bar and all your friends are certain to go: “Oooh...”

> Heh, maybe someone will combine a bluetooth headset & stylus

Agreed.

I won't dig through my past posts, but I've written down that idea before (I think when Samsung first announced the Galaxy Note)... I'm no visionary, it's just a sensible idea, especially if the pen/headset also has media playback controls. Infact, Sony could draw upon the style of their early 'Network Walkmans' (they didn't do MP3, FFS!) players which were cylindrical with jog controls.

It could live in a breast pocket, and a little RGB LED pixel would alert the user to notifications etc.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Whip it out in a bar and all your friends are certain to go: “Oooh...”

Already been done by ASUS with their PadFone: http://www.ebay.com/bhp/asus-padfone-stylus

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Whip it out in a bar and all your friends are certain to go: “Oooh...”

It's okay, you can hide your head behind the phone.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Whip it out in a bar and all your friends are certain to go: “Oooh...”

What are you on about? many of these slab phones are cheaper than smaller ones.

Of course, now we know what the hat was in the Fifth Element. It was a guy who just had his phone on his head.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nah_3vO0uhM

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Re: Whip it out in a bar and all your friends are certain to go: “Oooh...”

It's funny how 5" screens used to be outrageous. The same negative comments were around when the Dell Streak was new, instead, it was ahead of it's time and the doubters had to catch up. Maybe the negative comments are just Apple users without an option.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Whip it out in a bar and all your friends are certain to go: “Oooh...”

The streak had a 800x480 resolution screen.

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Blimey

I have no problem with large phones, but that in-hand pic did make me do a bit of a double take!

Wouldn't mind a play with one of these 6" + phones - just for giggles if nothing else!

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Megaphone

Trigger Happy

<Joly> "HELLO! I'M ON THE PHONE!" </Joly>

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This post has been deleted by its author

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@joeW

Seems churlish to get a comically oversized phone, and then complain everytime someone points out that you've got a comically oversized phone.

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I wonder

if it survives putting it in the rear pocket and sitting on a chair. El Reg should introduce such test for future VLP reviews. Also what about the heat generation? I could imagine it gets quite warm, seen how tightly it is sealed. Otherwise quite an impressive piece of hardware. As trade off for the waterproofing I can even even forgive the glued in battery.

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JDX
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Re: I wonder

Will it even fit in a back pocket for anyone not wearing skater jeans?

Regarding heat, it does have a much bigger surface area for heat dissipation than other phones!

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Re: I wonder

I've had my Z Ultra for nearly a month now and no, it does not get over warm.

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Re: I wonder

Shouldn't be a problem at all, my Nexus 7 fits in all my jeans.

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Re: I wonder

Its the "anti-smuggle-into-prison" design.

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Re: I wonder

I can squeeze my Nexus 7 (in flipover case) into most of my jean pockets, so I'd expect this to go in. I'd also expect unsightly bulges, and difficult walking - perhaps those belt clips, so beloved of builders, are due to make a comeback?

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Coat

@Lamont Cranston Re: I wonder

I'd also expect unsightly bulges, and difficult walking

Is this your mobile phone in your pocket or...

Ok, ok I'll get my coat...

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But

unfortunately it's a Sony, so no sale I'm afraid.

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JDX
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Re: But

Thanks for your valuable contribution to the forum.

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Re: But

> Thanks for your valuable contribution to the forum.

The gold badge looks down on the silver badge.

I know my place.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: But

You are right. Thanks for reminding me.

After buying a Sony video camera ages ago and then paying double for half capacity, non-standard memory stick and then $100 for the single format usb card reader... fuck that. I shall never willingly buy another Sony product again.

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@JDX - Oh, come on

"But it's Windows no sale" would have got at least ten upvotes!

Be reasonable.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: But

Let's hope you didn't watch Breaking Bad then, as that would make you a hypocrite.

#FAIL

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Re: But

I've been wary of Sony in the past (proprietary formats, silliness with CDs, sometimes pricey), but always liked them for trying crazy stuff from time to time (Remind yourself here of why Samsung aren't the new Sony: http://www.theverge.com/2013/9/29/4783132/the-amazing-products-of-weird-sony )

Also, my current phone, a Sony 2012 model) has been upgraded from Gingerbread to ICS and then to Jellybean, so I feel fairly well looked after.

Companies can change over time, though if you feel bitten then I can't blame you for feeling shy.

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Re: But

You know the phone division of Sony has almost nothing to do with that camera, right? Because of their Ericsson connection, SE phones have long used microSD.

This is no exception. They are by far one of the better phone vendors out there right now in terms of openness.

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Whip it out in a bar and all your friends are certain to go: “Oooh...”

..."get her!"

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The future of security

I think the reason phones are becoming increasingly larger is to usher in a new era in biometric security. What with the failure of Apples fingerprint system I believe these new large screens will eventually incorporate a cutting edge device access system called SID - 'Starfish Identification Device'.

Simply pop it down the crack of your Y-fronts, snap a pic of the sheriff's badge and you're in.

Why else?

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K
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Looks like a nice bit of kit..

But its made by Sony.. So its high quality, but just forget about get any of the latest Firmware updates.

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Re: Looks like a nice bit of kit..

Sadly it isn't 2009 any more, Sony have been pretty good with updates since they took over from SE. My Z is regularly updated with new features and performance enhancements, and 4.3 is on the way soon. And of course if you want to take matters into your own hands, many custom ROM's are available, all endorsed by Sony who will quite happily unlock the bootloader for you, and contribute to AOSP and are XDA's most developer friendly manufacturer.

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K
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Re: Looks like a nice bit of kit..

Cheers Bodhi - Thats good to know, the last experience I had was with the Arc S, which never got updated. This might be just the phablet I'm after :D

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Re: Looks like a nice bit of kit..

Quote "experience I had with the Arc S".

Nothing wrong with the Arc S - Sony has contributed everything you need to run a decent Android on it to Cyanogen and since this summer you have reasonably fresh (4.x - equivalent) nightlies to run on it. They also give you the unlock code straight away.

Caveats:

1. The Cyanogen sony load has some Wifi Problems. If you get them, enable WPA Enterprise on your AP (you need a radius server for that).

2. You need to use fastboot to flash the kernel every time. The normal update does not flush it

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Re: Looks like a nice bit of kit..

My Arc S started on 2.x and is now on 4.x? I wouldn't say "never updated".

Though, it might get the Cyanogen treatment at some point.

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Re: Looks like a nice bit of kit..

I also have to add that my S & T regularly get their updates. (my T is unbranded, my partners S is O2).

They have customised their version of Jellybean, but it's not that far from vanilla and seems to work well and look good on all the xperia 'form factors'.

Personally, I think the S and the T take really good pictures - the latest camera software updates have been really useful.

I also like the fact that the music player is Walkman software, so i can say "I'm listening to this on my Walkman" and not have to use the dreaded 'i' word, which some now use to indicate a music player.

Sony have their own design 'dress' which I find appealing and, in terms of smartphone design, have a set of products that really stand out.

They have also done a lot of good work on getting the NFC tagging to work well.

In terms of "i'm on the slab", Sony do their own bluetooth phone handset 'companion' and i have seen a man-from-UNCLE type bluetooth handset/slab stylus on the net, from china, which I might get. "open channel Z"

(I also have my supply of mini-disc player/recorders plus discs. 2xplay for 2 CDs on a disc and 4xplay for talking books/radio 4 drama. The latter I used to time-shift onto MD on my (sony) music centre and listen to on the train or in the car. if only they'd popularised it with a USB version...)

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Comparison to Xperia Z?

Seems a bit silly really. What it should be compared to is the Z1, since as far as I can tell the hardware is identical. The Ultra is just a Z1 with a big screen and a shit camera.

Also, it's not entirely true to say it has an IP58 rating. As with the Z1, it has an IP 55/58 rating. That means it's good for long-term immersion in still water, but unlike the S4 Active it can't take the high pressure jets that an IPx6 rating can.

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Jah

Is it really a phone?

Is a Range Rover really a car? Like cars, device manufacturers are creating devices for different segments and creating sub-brands like "Note" for Samsung. The Z Ultra is really like a Personal size Filofax and the idea is that it is a smaller tablet as opposed to a bigger phone. It may fill a niche or may create a small market like the Note 1, 2 & 3.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Is it really a phone?

> Is a Range Rover really a car?

Yes (I've just checked)

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Coat

Bigger is not necessarily better...

... as I keep telling my wife. I, personally think it's a waste and is too big to handle comfortably.

Thing is, she'd kill for more than 6 inches!

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Re: Bigger is not necessarily better...

Thing is, up until some cock robbed it, the old first-edition Galaxy Tab 7 incher I had functioned quite nicely as a phone. Yes, it does fit in a pocket. Just not some skinny jeans pocket.

Try it. You might like it.

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Re: Bigger is not necessarily better...

Ba-Doooooom Tish..........

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12mm better

If thicker two advantages:

Can have strong Chassis so it won't bend and crack LCD so easily.

Decent Battery Life.

If screen is on at full brightness my Sony Xperia eats 79% for screen and lasts about 14 minutes. May be longer if just charged.

I did a huge amount of testing and survey in 1988 for a "pocket notepad" information product. It was found that no advantage below 12mm. Fatter quickly objectionable. Paper back book sized approx was found to be too large, typical traditional 110 mm x 180 mm x 15 mm (W x H x D). We went for 90 mm x 140mm x 13mm approximately. Fits most suit and many coat pockets as well as hand bags. Old hardback books designed for pocket are often 98 x 146 x 13 mm. There are some paper backs in about 85 mm x 150 mm format. I think that in 11mm to 14mm thick would be a maximum phone size. As you make it thicker from 6mm thick and 90mm wide you likely need to reduce width so 14 mm thick you want 80mm wide, or if you keep the 90mm wide, round the top side edges a bit and the bottom side edges more. A 1.85:1 screen fits well. (wider than TV 16:9 which is 1.78:1, but common Cinema format).

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Re: 12mm better, vs 6.5

If I read the spec correctly the Sony is approximately 92 x 180 x 6.5 mm, so by my previous testing it's about 2mm approximately too wide (call it 1/8" too wide) and about 40mm too tall (about 1.5") and half the thickness it could be.

As the width is most critical for the hand or pocket and it's only a little excessive, the only major issue is thus the thickness. Too thin. We can ignore the extra 1.5" / 40mm height. But if it was 12mm to 14mm, then it would be likely 87 to 90 mm wide. You can experiment with blocks of wood, sanded and sprayed with a slightly inset graphic stuck on after laminating to represent the screen.

Actually the product I was developing used a large pen shaped handset which could work as phone handset, stylus for the "notepad" or a mouse for PC (on any reasonable surface) using a 2mm optically sensed ball in the tip.

This unrelated patent quotes my earlier 1989 - 1990 patent,

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/6671497.html

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